Ireland's agri-food exports to China have increased about five-fold from around 200 million euros ($247.73 million) in 2010 to almost $1.24 billion past year, which Creed said, "has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market". Overall beef imports to China have increased from under 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to around 600,000 tonnes in 2016.
"I understand that the Chinese authorities will list a number of our beef establishments within the next few days", said Mr Creed.
It has been three years since China formally lifted a ban on Irish beef exports imposed after the BSE crisis.
In a statement released this morning, Creed said: "The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors, in line with the market development theme of our Food Wise strategy".
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In February, ABP signed a €50 million deal to supply beef to the restaurant chain Wowprime in self-ruled Taiwan, as well as the Chinese mainland.
In 2016, China became the world's second-largest beef importer behind the U.S., importing 800,000 metric tons worth $2.6 billion.
Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: "Bord Bia, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today's breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximize this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters. A key element of the opening of new markets must be the delivery of a better margin to the primary producer, whose hard work, diligence and skill have made Irish beef the quality product that it is".
Ireland was granted a licence to sell beef in the U.S. three years ago. Consumption is on the rise and an average annual increase of just 1kg per capita would equate to an additional 1.38 million tonnes of beef per annum.
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"I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete in the Chinese market".
CHINA HAS OPENED its markets to Irish beef after years of negotiations, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed confirmed this morning.
"We have a number of plants that are now approved - we hope to have others approved shortly - and it is up to those plants to build their market contacts out there".
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